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US announces a new coalition to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria

By Tajuddin
Sep 6th, 2014

NATO Summit

Newport, Wales (Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO)- The United States says it’s assembled a “core coalition” of countries to combat the jihadist group the Islamic State — and the fightback will begin in Iraq. The grouping was announced on the final day of the NATO summit in Wales on Friday. It consists of 10 nations that will work together to strengthen Iraqi forces, and help them combat the insurgents, who have recently made strong gains in both Iraq and Syria. But the US was quick to rule out ANY deployment of non-Iraqi ground troops.

The coalition of the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark was announced at the NATO summit – but the US president says by the time the UN General Assembly meets in two weeks’ time in New York he wants more countries in the region to have signed on to combat IS – also known as ISIL.

“Arab states and specifically Sunni majority states, that are rejecting the kind of extremist nihilism that we are seeing out of ISIL- that say that is not what Islam is about and are prepared to join us actively in the fight,” US president Barack Obama said.

With IS still wreaking havoc across large swaths of Iraq, coalition members are mindful of the Iraq invasion of 2003. The US is insisting it will not send ground troops. The UK is considering joining the US in conducting airstrikes but is stressing other options, too.

“Everyone remembers the divisions over the Iraq war 10 years ago- there were no divisions here. The NATO alliance is clear about the threat that we face, the scale and the fact that we must use all the instruments at our disposal, humanitarian , diplomatic and military,” British PM David Cameron said.

But questions remain on whether IS will be attacked inside Syria as well as Iraq… After all, that is where they are based. The US so far has ruled out cooperating with the Assad government.

And as the US seemed to be forming a strategy against Islamic State– word of a success against Islamists in Somalia. The US is confirming that an airstrike carried out on Monday south of Mogadishu did indeed kill the leader of the al-Shabab Islamist group Ahmed Abdi Godane. He was one of the United States’ most wanted terrorist leaders- there was a 7 million dollar bounty on his head – and could be a real boost for the US president’s strategy of limited, targeted strikes against terrorist groups as the strategy against Islamic State takes shape.

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